Attorneys in UFC Antitrust Lawsuit Fight over Extension of Discovery Deadline
April 6, 2017
The parties in the UFC Antitrust lawsuit are battling over extending the discovery period with plaintiffs requesting more time and Zuffa attorneys arguing that the deadline should not be extended. Plaintiffs are requesting a 60-day extension of the fact discovery period and remainder of the case schedule.
According to court rules, discovery, the process of requesting for and receiving information from the opposing side and third parties must be performed by a certain deadline as dictated by a case schedule or relevant rules.
The Plaintiffs request additional time to take the depositions of UFC personnel as well as certain third parties.
Plaintiffs also stated that it is issuing a subpoena for a “person most knowledgeable” at WME-IMG. They note that this deposition will need to happen after the April 30, 2017 deadline (court rules require a 30 day notice for subpoena for depositions unless otherwise arranged by the parties).
In its motion, Plaintiffs state it has produced a total of 64,337 responsive documents totaling 206,403 pages. It has reviewed approximately 323,000 emails and attachments 100,000 social media files and more than 6.6 million files from the six named Plaintiffs’ electronic storage devices to produce the 64,337 documents. Also, it has defended the depositions of five of the six named plaintiffs with Cung Le’s depo occurring on April 11th. Plaintiffs state that Defendants have produced more than 760,000 responsive documents but has not produced a privilege log which would detail the types of documents it has withheld due to attorney-client privilege. Also, Plaintiffs claim that Zuffa “back-loaded” (provided documents later, than sooner) its production of documents.
On the other hand, Zuffa argues that the time should not be extended due to Plaintiffs’ inaction in not completing discovery. It also claims that they are blaming Zuffa for the delay which, of course, Zuffa denies.
Zuffa argues that Plaintiffs’ request is similar to that the Court has already ruled on in September 2016 when it gave a 30-day extension. It also states that Plaintiffs did no serve a second set of discovery requests until August 2016. In response to the lack of privilege log, Zuffa states that due to the size and breadth of the number of documents involved, it has taken “some time to compile and complete.” It notes that it will serve its privilege log on April 7, 2016. It also compares Plaintiffs privilege log with a universe of 855 documents versus Zuffa’s of “more than 30,000.”
These types of discovery fights happen all the time although maybe not involving such a voluminous number of documents. For either side to use an argument in which they state the number of documents reviewed and produced may be a “straw man” argument since it’s not the quantity of documents but what is contained in the discovery. The unique nature of this litigation which includes third parties that have or threatened to quash subpoenas have likely contributed to the delay. Also, scheduling depositions is another issue as they must accommodate scheduling. Plaintiffs could have unilaterally scheduled depositions to ensure that the depositions were noted. Of course, there would have been risk as to preparation and also whether or not they had the necessary documents to ask witnesses. Expect the Court to make a decision on this shortly.